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Are the Gifts He's Giving You for Him?

Updated on December 9, 2016
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My passion is writing about love, sex, dating, and relationships. I write based on my own personal experiences and those that I relate to.

During holidays I hear women complaining that men don't put as much effort into gift giving, unless the gift is for himself...

For many women, the gift is not about the expense, it's mostly about the time, energy and thought put in to finding a gift that shows a guy really knows her. Don't get me wrong, receiving elaborate gifts are nice, however if the elaborate gift is mostly about him or is given because he has done something wrong, it means nothing.

The last thing that a woman wants to hear when she gets a gift from a guy is that the gift was something that "he always wanted for himself" or something that "he always wanted to do." Basically the gift he "supposedly" got for you was really meant for himself. Hmm...

What woman doesn't like receiving a gift (or possibly several) that are picked out solely on what a guy likes, again having really nothing to do with you—except the tag or card that has your name attached to it. Wow.

Here's the thing guys, we aren't expecting you to always have the best gift giving skills. However, if you are choosing a gift for us, based on something you like, for yourself, if you were us—realize at that moment the gift is really for you!

Although choosing a gift is not rocket science, for some men it seems to be...

When buying a gift, there should at least be some resemblance representing the person you are gifting it to. What they like, what they want, or something regarding their life that they have personally shared with you, or that you have perhaps shared or have talked about sharing together. Also, with smartphones and internet—gift ideas are a fingertip away. Do you care enough about your significant other to pay attention, observe, and listen to what she likes?

So often, I will hear men tell me that they can't think of anything to get their significant other for their birthday, Valentine's Day, Hanukkah, Christmas or anniversary. Well, how well do you know her?

  • Can you describe her style?
  • Does she have a hobby?
  • Is she passionate about something specific?
  • What type of music does she enjoy?
  • What are her favorite colors?
  • Does she like gold or silver?
  • Is she athletic?
  • What is her size? (clothes/shoes)
  • What has she always wanted or needed?

Often, if we are paying attention, we know the answers to these questions once we remove ourselves from the equation. Also, knowing these questions can make shopping easier when talking to sales people or going online.

Men, I get that women tend to be more detailed oriented than you, because we pay attention when you talk. Pay attention to us...

Women enjoy talking. We could be walking through a store and point out shoes, a dress, purse or trinket that has caught our eye. Take notes—in your smart phone—if you have a hard time remembering. We might share a sweet memory from our childhood or we might tell you directly that we are in need of a spa day or a romantic vacation. There are literally ideas spewing out of our mouths if you put your phone down—versus being on social media—and pay attention to us.

Once we share something that we want or like, work hard to make it happen. Don't wait until last minute searching, this will only cause you stress and panic trying to find a last minute gift. Realize that most gift ideas are doable with time and effort.

Nothing exemplifies feeling less-special, than a gift that doesn't represent you—your personality, taste or style....

Most men that I have been in relationships with have been great gift givers. They have taken the time to listen—really hearing me by paying attention to things that I like or want as well as things that I don't like. Let's keep it real, every so often I have come across less observant men, and this showed in the gifts they gave.

Many years ago there was a time that I only wore silver jewelry. I had a boyfriend for over two years who bought me a gold bracelet for Valentine's Day. Although the bracelet was pretty, overall it was not my style. His gift represented that he did not really know me and more importantly, he did not pay attention to detail. This was another big clue (this was not the first time he missed the boat) that he was not the one.

I'm not saying that every gift a guy gives is going to be perfect. And yes, it is the thought that counts. However, when the gift is completely opposite from who you are, was the thought really there?

I dated a guy who loved to snowboard. I completely supported his passion for snowboarding, however I personally had zero interest in participating myself—something I stated very clearly when we first started dating. I like the mountains but I connect with the ocean more, I am not a fan of being cold and I don't enjoy heights or ski lifts. I was not a complete virgin to the mountain experience, I had tried skiing twice and did not like anything about the activity.

Knowing all of this about me, he made the executive decision that the best gift for Christmas was getting me the whole snowboarding experience. He gave me the entire snowboarding outfit—coat, snow pants, beanie, gloves, goggles, boots, as well as the snowboard and pass. Seriously, why?

Although I appreciated that he really wanted me to love snowboarding as much as he did, the gift felt very self-centered. If you really want and need the woman you are dating to go snowboarding with you, then date a woman who already enjoys snowboarding. Thank goodness everything was returnable, including our relationship.

When a gift shows that a guy is truly not paying attention to you and things you have talked about, this can be extremely hurtful...

I was dating a guy for almost a year before my birthday, his gift to me showed that he never listened when I spoke. Wonderful. Even when he presented my birthday gift—which was a flyer for sky diving together—he did it with hesitation, telling me that he had always wanted to go. So my birthday gift was actually for him? I say this because I had mentioned multiple times that I was afraid of heights.

I told him thank you and that I really appreciated the "thought." However, with the severity of my fear of heights this gift would be wasted on me. Months ago we had talked about going on a vacation together, so he promised to use the money he was planning to spend on the skydiving towards a romantic beach getaway—there were tons of inexpensive trips we found.

Many months later, no getaway and no birthday gift. Hmmm...Clearly, if the gift he gave—skydiving—wasn't something that he really wanted—a beach vacation—then making the effort wasn't important to him. Aka; I was not important.

Disappointments aren't always in the bigger gestures...

My friend dated a guy who asked her before they went on their first date what kind of flowers she liked. What women (who isn't allergic) doesn't enjoy that question? The only flower my friend does not like are carnations. Well, this guy kept giving her carnations. Yikes! When she asked him why, his response was that he loved them and as long as he was bringing her something she should be happy. Wrong! There was never a fourth date.

That man had obvious control issues. His "thoughtfulness" might have come across sweeter if he never asked what flowers she liked. However, when you do ask but then give something—that you enjoy—this shows lack of caring.

Here's the thing guys, part of showing a woman you care is by making her feel special...

I had a guy who was a very attentive listener. He gave me a "just because gift" which was an old children's book. I had mentioned to him once how this book was my favorite but through my childhood it got damaged and lost. This book had brought me so much comfort and happiness reading it as a child. He never revealed where he found this book, but it didn't matter, it was one of the best gifts I had ever received and the gift represented how much I meant to him.

I also had a guy for Valentine’s Day make me from scratch a wine/martini hanging glass rack above my sink—I ran out of space in my cupboards to store any more glasses. This gift was extremely though-out and thoughtful.

Ladies, gifts should Never be expected. However, the excitement you feel when you do receive a gift from a guy should not be immediately diminished the second you open it—due to his obvious lack of effort. It does not matter if the gift is as simple as flowers—you don't like, or a trip to the mountains—when you have expressed that you enjoy the beach. Not considering your likes and needs in the gift he is getting for you shows a lack of your importance in his life.

Bottom line, we can all find someone who is compatible to lessen this disappointment, however even the most compatible man needs to listen, hear you, and want to work hard to get gifts that are for you, not him. Always try hard to show each other that you care; by the words you speak, the actions you take, and the gifts you give. There is indeed one genuine love potion...Consideration.

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